Join Our Telegram Channel


Attorney Sean Gertner needs to make up his mind.

Mr. Gertner is representing Migdal Bais Yaakov, located at 541 Joe Parker Road, at their upcoming Planning Board hearing this coming Tuesday night, October 25th.

Migdal Bais Yaakov is a girls seminary which last year received Planning Board approval to change the use of a residential dwelling into their school for 25 students.

Migdal is now applying to Lakewood Township's Planning Board for Major Site Plan approval to construct 2 school buildings. 

Application SP 2499 is for construction of an approximately 16,572 sq foot elementary school building with a gymnasium and pool. 

According to the architectural plans and traffic study that was submitted, there will be 27 classrooms, 2 tutor rooms, 1 library, 1 meeting room, 7 offices, and a 3,495 sq foot dining room, which all together require 38 parking spaces, while 106 spaces will be provided. A total of 675 students will attend the school and will be dropped off by 14 school buses. 9:00am would be the proposed commencement time for all students. The bus circulation and staging plan shows that only 5 buses can unload in front of the school building.

This application seeks submission and design waivers, as well as bulk variances for the provision of buffers and parking setbacks.

Application SP 2498 is for construction of an approximately 27,263 sq foot school building with a dormitory, and a gymnasium, and pool.

According to the plans submitted there will be 5 classrooms with a dormitory for 200 students. This school requires 10 parking spaces, while 31 will be provided.

There will not be any room in this driveway for school buses, so the application seeks a variance for bus loading and unloading spaces which is a requirement for all schools. The application also seeks several submission and design waivers, as well as bulk variances for the provision of buffers and parking setbacks.

The issue is the dormitory, which is being presented to the Planning Board as an accessory use to the school.

Lakewood Township's zoning ordinances do not permit dormitories as an accessory use to a school, they therefore require a Use Variance from the Zoning Board.

In fact, Attorney Sean Gertner has previously represented neighbors who were opposed to a school dormitory application, on this very basis, that dormitories require a Use Variance from the Zoning Board.

In July 2020, Mr. Gertner wrote to the Planning Board regarding Yeshiva Toras Chaim's application for a dormitory "it is not disputed that the Township ordinance defining the residential districts... permits ... schools... In addition there are 5 conditional uses permitted in the zone and there are 5 accessory uses specifically permitted in the zone, none of which list or permit dormitories. Accordingly... the subject application requires a Use Variance [from the Zoning Board] to allow a dormitory on the subject property."

Mr. Gertner concluded his letter by opining that, at the very least, the matter should be referred to the Zoning Board for an interpretation and determination.

Hmm... Did Attorney Gertner suddenly have a change in heart now and decide that dormitories are indeed permitted as an accessory use to a school?

Coincidentally, Attorney Gertner is the Board attorney to the Jackson Township Planning Board and Zoning Board. As part of their settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Jackson Township Council is officially in the process of codifying an Ordinance permitting dormitories in certain parts of the town, however the Ordinance has not yet been adopted. Perhaps, according to his representation of Migdal Bais Yaakov's proposed dormitory "as a permitted accessory use", Jackson Township's boards - which he represents - should also already permit dormitories as an accessory use to a school, even without an official ordinance??

Will the real Sean Gertner please stand up tall and straight?

Related stories on FAA News:

Update on the Yeshiva Toras Chaim dormitory lawsuit - judge urges the yeshiva to settle - click here

Citing pending litigation they are fighting on the matter, Planning Board pushes back on hearing two dormitory applications - click here


To join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here.

To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here.

No comments: